Although Mercedes bounced back from disappointing qualifying to take their first double podium of the season in France, Russell called for the team to stop experimenting.
Although he understands the team is still trying to figure out their W13 car. Mercedes came to Paul Ricard believing they had a chance to win.
Those hopes were dashed in qualifying when Lewis Hamilton, who was 4th, was still 9 tenths and Russell an additional 4 tenths slower than the pace of the leaders.
The team recovered the positions, but not the performances, when Hamilton took 2nd place at the Grand Prix, and Russell with him on the podium in 3rd place.
But, they were not in the fight for the win because Max took it by a huge margin of 10 seconds.
Russell believes that Mercedes ruined their own chances by experimenting too much in the early parts of the weekend.
“When your pace is so bad, you try to do everything to bring the car to the smallest possible gap.”
“And maybe that’s a lesson for us, that we have to focus on ourselves and get the most out of the car rather than experimenting.”
“But right now we have to experiment to see what works and what doesn’t.”
At the weekend, making upgrades to the W13, Mercedes’ experiments were rear wings with Hamilton’s attempts in practice proving futile as the wing with the highest downforce produced too much drag and the thinner version costing them cornering time.
Russell remains convinced that despite the differences in qualifying, Mercedes showed in the race that they are going in the right direction.
“We’re optimistic because we feel like we have a direction we want to go and we think we’re going to have progress.”
“In qualifying you have the best pace comparison against your rivals and it’s difficult when we see how far we are from pole position.”
“But racing is where we need to watch. We have a faster car than at the beginning of the season.”
Mercedes is still in third place in the constructors’ championship with 270 points, 126 points behind the leading Red Bull.